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Saturday, August 16, 2008

US Mint

This write up of the US Mint explains exactly who the USD Mint are and what they deal in and is well worth reading before you decide to buy any gold or silver coins from the US Mint.

As always, it is prudent to always do one’s own due diligence before buying gold from any gold dealer or mint.

Who are the US Mint
The US Congress created the United States Mint on April 2, 1792. The Mint is responsible for creating the nationals coinage as well as providing precious metal coins for numismatic and other collectors for some years.

The US Mint creates revenue from manufacturing coins (in more way than one of course) but primarily from the precious metal coins from which it generates something on the order of 860 million dollars a year and a total of more than $1 billion in total annual revenues.

The primary mission of the United States Mint is given on the website.
To produce an adequate volume of circulating coinage for the nation to conduct its trade and commerce. In recent history circulating coin production has varied between 11 billion and 20 billion coins annually. In addition to producing coins, the United States Mint has other responsibilities, including the following:

Distributing U.S. coins to the Federal Reserve banks and branches.

Maintaining physical custody and protection of the Nation's $100 billion of U.S. gold and silver assets.

Producing proof, uncirculated, and commemorative coins, and medals for sale to the general public.

Manufacturing and selling platinum, silver, and gold bullion coins.
Overseeing of production facilities in Denver, Philadelphia, San Francisco and West Point, as well as the U.S. Bullion Depository at Fort Knox, Kentucky.
The US Mint operates 6 facilities across the US with each facility performing various functions. Current facilities are located in:
Washington, DC
Philadelphia, PA
West Point, NY
Fort Knox, KY
Denver, CO, and
San Francisco, Cal.
When the US Mint was created by Congress with the Coinage Act of 1792, it was placed within the Department of State. As per the terms of the Coinage Act, the first Mint building was located in Philadelphia, the then U.S. capital. It was the first building of the Republic raised under the Constitution.

The Mint's first director was renowned scientist David Rittenhouse. The position is currently held by Edmund C. Moy. Henry Voigt was the first Superintendent and Chief Coiner. He is credited with some of the first U.S. coin designs. Another important position at the Mint is that of Chief Engraver, which has been held by such men as Frank Gasparro, William Barber, Charles E. Barber, James B. Longacre, Christian Gobrecht and Anthony C. Paquet, among others.

The Mint was made an independent agency in 1799 and, under the Coinage Act of 1873, became part of the Department of the Treasury. It was placed under the auspices of the Treasurer of the United States in 1981.

Edmund C. Moy, the current Director, was sworn in as the 38th Director of the United States Mint on September 5, 2006.

In the financial year 2007 the United States Mint manufactured over 15 billion circulating coins, generated a revenue of $2.63 billion, and contributed $825 million in earnings to the United States Treasury.

About the US Mint
The number of coins minted today is astounding. Denver and Philadelphia alone produce 65 million to 80 million coins a day. The stories behind each of the mint locations are very interesting to read about.

The first United States Mint branch, established in 1792, was located in the Nation’s capital at that time, Philadelphia. These days, the US Mint at Philadelphia makes all the circulating and uncirculated coin denominations, as well as a variety of medals, and commemorative coins as authorized by Congress. In addition, the United States Mint Sculpting/Engraving Department, responsible for engraving all coin and medal designs, is housed at the United States Mint at Philadelphia.

Of course everyone will have heard of Fort Knox. although manufacturing is not conducted at the United States Bullion Depository in Kentucky, to give it its official name, it is still a vital part of the organization. Protected by the United States Mint Police, one of the Nation’s oldest federal law enforcement agencies, virtually all of the United States Treasury’s gold and silver reserves are held by the United States Mint.

The United States Mint manufactures proof coins mainly for collectors. The term "proof" refers to the manufacturing processes used to create a special coin finish that is distinguished by a high-relief image and a brilliant mirror-like background. The coins that compose both the United States Mint Proof Set(R) and the United States Mint Silver Proof Set(TM) are so beautiful that many people think of them as miniature works of art.

The US Mint produced its first “proof set” in 1936. That set consisted of 5 coins, including the one cent (penny), five cents (nickel), ten cents (dime), twenty-five cents (quarter-dollar) and fifty cents (half-dollar). Today’s sets also include the dollar coin featuring Sacagawea - the Golden Dollar. Since 1999, this set has also contained all five coins issued as part of the 50 State Quarters(R) Program

US Mint Products
As well as the national coinage, the US mint produces various single and collective groups of precious metal coins. Here is a short list of some of them.
50 State Quarters® Program
D. & U.S. Territories
Presidential $1 Coins
First Spouse Gold Coins
Native American $1 Coins
Lincoln One-Cent Redesign
American Gold Buffalo - 24K
American Gold Eagles
Commemoratives
Medals
It should be noted that such coins are really suitable more for numismatic and hobby collection purposes rather than investment. Mainly due to the high cost of the coins. The manufacturing process and other associated costs and profit margins means that one will pay many times the value of the gold or silver contained within the coins in order to obtain them.

Many people like to collect them however, for their intrinsic beauty and as a hobby. Any investment qualities are going to be extremely long term.

Investment in gold or silver should really be in the form of bullion such as rounds or bars.

US Mint Payment Options
If you want to buy gold coins, gold bullion, commemoratives, silver coins or silver bullion from the US Mint, they will accept all major credit cards online. You will need to open an account first and then select what you want from the product pages to be placed in the shopping cart. Then you simply order what is in the shopping cart and they will be delivered to the address you provided (which should be the same address as is on the credit card)

The Last Word on the US Mint
If you are interested in collecting US gold and silver coins purely for collecting sake then the US Mint is worth considering. Naturally all the dealers will buy from them and resell and so it is really a question of price as the coins, being hermetically sealed at the manufacturing stage, are going to be the same regardless of whom you buy them.

Of course, such coins are more suitable for collectors than for investment. Investment in gold and silver is best done using gold or silver rounds and bullion bars. in addition one can invest in gold and silver by owning it and not having the hassle of storage and transport issues, by going to goldmoney.com and opening an account there.

If you have bought any gold coins, silver coins, gold bullion or silver bullion from the www.usmint.gov, please feel free to leave feedback on the quality of service and products you found, including any www.usmint.gov online complaints and special attention or service given by www.usmint.gov online

Friday, August 15, 2008

South African Mint

It is recommended that you read this write up about the South African Mint and find out who the South African Mint are and what they are like before you undertake any dealings with them.

In all transactions with gold or any other precious metal with any gold dealer, it is wise to do your own due diligence and find out as much about them as possible.

Who are the South African Mint
When gold was discovered in the Gauteng area (Johannesburg) in 1886, President Paul Kruger realized that the ZAR needed its own coins so the government of the day granted a concession to a consortium of Dutch, German and British investors in 1890 to establish the National Bank and permission to operate a mint.

Within two years The State Mint and Bank was built and officially opened on 6 July 1892.

During the eighties, the Government initiated the deregulation of State activities and the South African Mint was privatized, with the SA Reserve Bank as the holding company. The South African Mint Company (Pty) Ltd was established on 1 September 1988 as a full subsidiary of the SA Reserve Bank.

This lasted until the new mint at Gateway, Centurion which was built and completed in October 1990 and officially opened during October 1992

The mint has seven directors, six non executive and the managing Director, Executive. Each are appointed by the sole shareholder, the South African Reserve Bank. The Managing Director if the mint is Mr AM Mvinjelwa and the Chairperson is RD Mokate.

The website, www.samint.co.za has been online since November 1999 and, although the presentation started off rather poorly has improved very well over the years.

South African Mint Products

Probably the most famous of the South African mint coins is the Krugerrand. The world’s first ounce-denominated gold coin, the Krugerrand, was struck at the South African Mint on the 3 July 1967.

These 1 troy-ounce gold bullion coins were produced in vast quantities so that the “man in the street” would be able to purchase gold easily and with confidence. Later, in 1980, the fractional Krugerrands (½ oz, ¼ oz and 1/10 oz) were added to the 1 oz Krugerrand to assist the smaller buyer to obtain gold at a more affordable price.

As one of the best selling gold coins for the South African mint, the Krugerrand is still minted in the traditional 22 carat gold and proof quality Krugerrands are available as limited editions only. With each individual coin set issued with a numbered certificate of authenticity.

The name Krugerrand, incidentally, was derived from KRUGER (President Paul Kruger) and RAND the monetary unit of South Africa. The word Rand (meaning 'ridge' is associated with the area called Witwatersrand, "the ridge of white water" an important gold producing area.

According to the Mint, When Intergold was established as a subsidiary of the Chamber of Mines in South Africa, they took over the distribution of the uncirculated (bullion) Krugerrand (with 180 serrations) while the proof Krugerrand (with 220 serrations) was sold by the South African Mint. The bullion Krugerrand is linked to the daily gold price while the proof Krugerrand is available in limited quantities with a yearly fixed price. As a numismatic coin, the proof Krugerrand has been eagerly sought after by coin collectors.

More information on the Krugerrand is available on Gold Price.

Other coins available from the South African mint include the Protea.

After the success of the Krugerrand a second gold collectors’ coin, the PROTEA series was introduced by the South African Mint in 1986. The King Protea is portrayed on the obverse of the coin while the reverse themes changes each year.

Arthur Sutherland, chief die-sinker of the South African Mint modelled the popular design and in 1988, three different Protea coins were issued. Since the year 1989, the King Protea has appeared on the obverse of the Protea coin series. Initially, the coins were issued in 22 carat gold, but since 1997, the gold Protea coins have been issued in 24 carat gold. Protea coins are available in proof quality 1 oz and 1/10th oz pure gold as well as R1 sterling silver (1 oz). Like all proof coins, these artistic pieces have a limited yearly mintage and have become a much sought after series by international coin collectors.

The Natura Series was first minted in 1994. These coins were South Africa’s first 24 carat 999.9 fine gold coin series. The Natura legal tender coins are issued as singles or in sets in limited edition and PROOF quality only including from one ounce to half, quarter and one tenth ounces. The Natura series features the animals of Africa including the Elephant, buffalo, leopard among others.

Other somewhat minor issues are also produced.

Buying from the South African Mint

You cannot buy direct from the South African Mint but would need to buy from either local dealers, if in South Africa or International Dealers if overseas. A list of all the dealers is provided on site.

Last Word on the South African Mint

Of course, such coins are really more suitable for collectors than for investment purposes. Investment in gold and silver is best done using gold or silver rounds and bullion bars. in addition one can invest in gold and silver by owning it and not having the hassle of storage and transport issues, by going to goldmoney.com and opening an account there.

If you have bought any gold or silver coins or other bullion from www.samint.co.za, please feel free to leave your feedback on the quality of service by the www.samint.co.za online as well as any complaints and special attention or service given by www.samint.co.za online.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Islamic Mint

This write up of the Islamic Mint explains exactly who the Islamic Mint are and what they deal in and is well worth while reading before you decide to buy any gold or silver coins from the Islamic Mint.

As always, it is prudent to do one's own due diligence before buying gold from any gold dealer or mint.

Who are the Islamic Mint

The Islamic Mint is situated in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It produces the Islamic Dinar and Islamic Dirham.

Castiñeira is marketing director of the Islamic Mint, a private institution dedicated to reviving as international currency the coinage described in the Koran - the gold dinar and silver dirham.

E-dinar's British COO, Yahya Cattanach, and his family share a communal condo with Castiñeira in the comfortable Jumeirah district of Dubai. The company's Spanish president, Umar Ibrahim Vadillo, is also the president of the Islamic Mint. And finally, uniting all three men, as well as e-dinar's Swiss CEO, Malaysian CFO, and German CTO, is the fact that all are high-placed members of the Murabitun movement, a modern, Western offshoot of Sufi Islam and possibly the only religious sect in history whose defining article of faith is a financial theory.

The e-dinar's primary unit of account is 4.25 grams of gold. Officially, the Islamic Mint and e-dinar are separate organizations, but they're actually the off- and online divisions of a single project, joined by ideological and personal ties.

Their website is www.e-dinar.com

They are associated with E-Dinar Ltd who actually sell the coins. E-Dinar Ltd are based in Malaysia and Dubai.

They first began minting Minted first gold dinar and silver dirhams in 1992. In 2000 they Established formal organization and incorporated e-dinar Ltd in Labuan, Malaysia with a authorized share capital of USD 1.5 million. They received permission to mint coins in Dubai and have established mints in UAE and Indonesia.

They also have a Malaysian site at www.islamicmint.com.my.

More information about the Islamic Currency & Mint
In the beginning the Muslims used gold and silver by weight and the dinar and dirhams that they used were made by the Persians.

According to the Islamic mint website:

"Umar Ibn al-Khattab (second caliph of the Muslim also known as Abu Hafs Umar ibn al-Khattab al-Adawi, reigned from 634 to 644 CE) established the known relationship between them based on their weights: "10 dirhams must be equivalent to 7 dinars (mithqals)". The weight of a mithqal of gold is seventy-two grains of barley, so that the dirham which is seven-tenths of it is fifty and two-fifths grains. In the year 75 AH (695 CE) Caliph Abul Walid Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan (reigned from 685 to 705 CE) ordered Al-Hajjaj to mint the first Dirhams and in 77 AH (696 CE), the first standard gold Dinar were minted. In the next years these coins were minted in all the regions of Islam. He ordered that the coins should be stamped with the sentence: "la ilaha ill' Allah" (Allah is Unique, Allah is Eternal). He also ordered to remove human figures and animals from the coins and to be replaced with letters. Gold and silver coins remained official currency in Islamic regions until the fall of the Caliphate in 1918. This indicates that the Islamic Gold Dinar was the currency of the Muslim community from its first years right up to the fall of the Ottoman Empire (Osmanli dynasty)."

Dr. Umar Ibrahim Vadillo, Pioneer of the Dinar's reintroduction and director of E-Dinar Ltd, is known as the designer of the current coins. He is also the author of books, written on Islamic finance and Economics. Among his books are "The Fatwa on Paper Money", "The Return of the Gold Dinar" and "The Esoteric Deviation in Islam", published by Medinah Press.

Islamic Mint Products
The wealth in these coins can be calculated directly by weight for zakah, marriage and hudud according to Islamic teaching and implementation.
Weights and Measures:
The Islamic Dinar 22K gold (.917) is equivalent to 4.25 grams 23mm diameter.
The Islamic Dirham 0.925 pure silver equivalent to 2.975 grams 25mm diameter.
Besides 1 Dirham in silver and 1 Dinar gold coins, 5 Dirhams in silver and 2 Dinars in Gold also exists. The silver coins show the Kaaba. (All the Muslims face the Kaaba during their five time prayers in a day, which is the second pillar of Islam. ) The gold coins also show the tomb of Muhammad.

The Islamic Dinar is now currently minted in four countries and being privately used in more than 22. During 1982, the Islamic Development Bank was prescribed by the IMF as a holder of Special Drawing Rights (SDR's). SDR's are a unit of IMF currency tied to gold. The Islamic Dinar, which is made of gold is a unit of account at the Islamic Development Bank, equal in value to one SDR.

It is possible to buy Dinar gold coins from the various Islamic mints such as e-dinar Ltd. You will need to open an account and provide the usual ‘Know your Customer’ proof of ID, or alternatively one could also possible purchase from the principal contact person of Islamic Mint: Mr. Thani Alromaithi. email: info@e-dinar.com. But I dare say he will also want to know with whom he is dealing.

In the beginning of 2008 the Islamic Mint introduced two more coins: 10 Dirhams in .999 Silver having 30g and 8 Dinar 22K gold having 34g. These gold and silver coins are also available for sale. Their main office is at Abu Dhabi and regional branch and private mint located in Dubai. Their functional website is at www.e-dinar.com/ and current prices can be seen at www.e-dinar.com/cgi/shop.cgi.

You might also be able to get them at gold and silver dealers.

Last Word on the Islamic Mint
The Islamic gold and silver coins are very impressive and outstanding in quality and the cost is not much above spot. But they are really designed specifically for use in the Islamic World.

When it comes to investment in gold and silver, one would be better off looking at gold bullion in the form of bars or even buying gold and silver from such places as goldmoney.com for example, for investment purposes.

More information on Islamic gold coins can be found at: Islamic Gold Coins.

If you have bought any Islamic silver bullion coins from any dealers please feel free to leave your feedback on the quality of service and products including any online complaints and special attention or service given by any dealers of Islamic gold and silver coins.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

New Zealand Mint

This write up of the New Zealand Mint explains exactly who the New Zealand Mint are and what they deal in and is well worth reading before you decide to buy any gold or silver coins from the New Zealand Mint.

As always, it is prudent to do one's own due diligence before buying gold from any gold dealer or mint.

Who are the New Zealand Mint

The New Zealand Mint, based in Auckland, New Zealand, is a private mint and has been minting legal tender commemorative coins, gold bullion and medallions since the 1960s and was also one of the first world mints to adopt the .9999 standard for gold coin purity

Mark Sutton, general manager of the New Zealand Mint, has indicated that the mint turns over $30 million a year in products and estimates it should hit $50 million in turnover in the coming 12 month.

According to the Wayback machine, the New Zealand mint website has been operating from Sept 2002.

All gold coins minted by New Zealand Mint are certified to be .9999 pure. New Zealand Mint only uses gold that has been refined to the international standard of .9999 pure.

New Zealand gold is generally sourced from all major mines throughout New Zealand. The country's primary gold production areas include the South Island's Otago, the West Coast and the North Island's Coromandel region.

The New Zealand Mint also mints coins for legal tender releases such as the Conquest of Everest series minted under the authority of the Government of Nepal, Fiji Historic Pure Gold Coin minted under the authority of the Government of Fiji, and the Endangered Asian Pacific Wildlife series minted under the authority of the Government of the Cook Islands. They have also undertaken special minting work on assignment for overseas corporate companies as well.

New Zealand Mint Products
Over 150 years ago New Zealand's first gold nuggets were discovered on the banks of Coromandel's Kapanga Creek. The year was 1852, and at the time New Zealand was experiencing its first major influx of European settlers so New Zealand has also had its own ‘Gold Rush’.

New Zealand still has an active gold mining industry with the annual gold production of almost 12 tonnes a year. Gold is found both in the North and South Island bound up with rock in the North and South Islands and as small nuggets or flakes of alluvial gold in the South.

The New Zealand Mint also issues a Certificate of Authenticity with every coin it mints.

Currently the New Zealand Mint carries the following products:
1oz Silver Bullion Coin
1oz .9999 silver bullion coin
Gold Kiwi Coin 1oz
1oz .9999 Gold bullion coin
Gold Kiwi Coin 1/2oz
1/2 oz .9999 pure gold bullion coin
Gold Kiwi Coin 1/4oz
1/4 oz .9999 pure gold bullion coin
5 Troy Oz .9999 Gold Bar
5 troy oz .9999 pure gold bullion bar
10 Troy Oz .9999 Gold Bar
10 troy oz .9999 pure gold bullion bar
1 Kilogram .9999 Gold bar
1 kilogram .9999 pure gold bullion bar
1 Kilogram .999 Silver Bar
1 kilogram .999 fine silver bullion bar
5 Kilogram .999 Silver Bar
5 kilogram .999 fine silver bullion bar
Also still available at the time of writing.
Scott Base 50th Anniversary Gold Coin Beautifully crafted $1 mini Gold Proof coin celebrating 50 years of Scott Base in Antarctica 1/2 oz .9999 gold proof coin 25.1mm diameter Limited mintage of 500

ANZAC 90th Anniversary $1 Silver Coin Set. A set of two .9999 gold proof coins, one issued by Australia and the other by New Zealand. 22 Carat Gold $NZ10 Proof Coin Weight:39.94gm, Dia:38.61mm Limited Edition of 300
1/4 oz proof quality .9999 pure gold legal tender coin issued by Kingdom of Nepal.
Limited Edition of 2,000.

Mikado Pheasant Gold Coin coloured legal tender coin - 10gram .9999 gold, 25mm diameter.
Limited Edition of 1,000 Black-faced Spoonbill Gold Coin
Coloured legal tender coin - 10gram .9999 gold, 25mm diameter. Limited Edition of 1,000

1/10 oz proof quality .9999 pure legal tender coin from Fijian Gold, 16mm diameter. $10 face value.

1/20 oz proof quality .9999 pure legal tender coin from Fijian Gold, 13.9mm diameter. $5 face value.
And many more.

Buying from the New Zealand Mint
The first time you buy from newzealandmint.com you will be asked for a number of details to create an account. This is a simple matter of providing some information, a user name and password so you can log in to your account and you can select gold coins to place in your shopping basket.

Buying is just a matter of selecting the gold cons you want to buy and placing them in a shopping cart.

The New Zealand Mint accepts standard credit card payments

Also for purchasing bullion the following applies:

Once you know what type of precious metal, gold or silver, you want to buy and how much, you simply call the mint by phone and you will be quoted a ‘spot price’. Once you agree to the price you will then need to confirm this by requesting a contract. The contract will state the agreed price, quantity ordered, applicable shipping costs.

You will get a copy of the contract which you will need to sign and return and fax back to the mint within the hour to ensure it is accepted.

Once you receive the contract (either by fax or email), review it carefully, sign it then fax back to the Mint on Auckland 377 6836. All contracts you sign must be returned within one hour of receiving the contract.

Having done that payment must then be made and this is done by transferring the required funds by telegraphic transfer to the New Zealand Mint bank. A copy of the deposit slip (or payment confirmation) must also be faxed to the Mint on the same day the contract is raised.

You should also fax the transfer confirmation also.

If the confirmation of the payment is not received on the day of issuing the contract the Mint will cancelled the order and you will be liable for the difference between your agreed price and the Mint's sale price of the liquidated bullion.

Payment can be made in NZD$ USD$ or AUD$.

Within 15 working days you will be able to either pick up or have the gold shipped to you.

The shipping charges, which include insurance are, $30 within New Zealand for gold and $30 dollars for 5KG of silver.

The Mint also offers a secured and insured allocated storage programme.

All orders are shipped on a door-to-door basis and can only be shipped to street addresses (not PO Boxes) only. Delivery will require adult identification, signature and proof of delivery from the addressee at the time of delivery

Note that there are NO refunds, returns or exchanges on precious metal purchases by or from the New Zealand Mint.

Last word on the New Zealand Mint
It should be noted that buying gold and silver coins from the New Zealand Mint has the security that you are buying genuine and real gold and silver coins. Of course you will pay top dollar so this is really for collectors only and not for gold or silver investors who’s time and money would be better spend seeking out gold and silver bullion, preferably in large quantities to reduce the premium. In addition one can invest in gold and silver by owning it and not having the hassle of storage and transport issues, by going to goldmoney.com and opening an account there.

If you have bought any gold coins, silver coins, gold bullion or silver bullion from the www.newzealandmint.com, please feel free to leave feedback on the quality of service and products you found, including any www.newzealandmint.com online complaints and special attention or service given by www.newzealandmint.com.

Friday, August 1, 2008

British Royal Mint

This write up of the British Royal Mint explains exactly who the British Royal Mint are and what they deal in and is well worth reading before you decide to buy any gold or silver coins from the British Royal Mint.

As always, it is prudent to do one's own due diligence before buying gold from any gold dealer or mint.

Who are the British Royal Mint
The British Royal Mint is perhaps the oldest mint in the world with origins dating back to 886 during the reign of Alfred the Great. At that time it was one of many mints around the country but, by 1279, it has been moved to the Tower of London and remained there for the next 500 years becoming the sole producer of coin of the realm for the United Kingdom.

Sir Issac Newton, the physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist and theologian, held the post of Warden in the mint and was responsible for investigating cases of counterfeiting in 1696 eventually holding the position of Master of the Royal Mint from 1699 until his death in 1727. In England he was responsible for moving the pound sterling from the silver standard (where the term sterling originated from) to the gold standard in 1717, by creating a relationship between gold coins and the silver penny in the "Law of Queen Anne". These was considered a great reform at the time, adding to the wealth and stability of England. It was his work at the Mint, rather than his earlier contributions to science, that earned him a knighthood from Queen Anne in 1705.

Around the early 1800s the Mint was moved from the Tower of London to Tower Hill where it remained until it was move outside of London in 1967 to new buildings in Llantrisant, ten miles west of Cardiff.

Over the years the processes for manufacturing coinage improved with mechanisation, rolling mills and coin presses in the seventeenth century. In the 1880s, electricity and further demand improved the efficiency and output of the mint with the mint finally reaching capacity in early 1971 ahead of decimalisation where hundreds of millions of new decimal coins had to be produced.

Of course the Royal Mint exists primarily to mint coins for circulation in the United Kingdom. But it also manufactures and circulates coins for over 100 other countries, mints and collectors, as well as producing the countries military medals and civilian decorations for the British military and orders of chivalry. In addition, the Mint also produced the coins for Canada until 1908 when the Royal Canadian Mint was established.

The current Chief Executive and Accounting Officer of the Royal Mint is Andrew Stafford and Mike Davies is the non-executive Chairman. The Board of the Royal Mint comprises the Chairman and three other Non-Executive Directors together with the Chief Executive and five other Executive Directors. The Chief Executive is appointed by HM Treasury.

The Chief Executive also holds the title Deputy Master of the Royal Mint and is a senior civil servant. His appointment was overseen by a Civil Service Commissioner and made in accordance with the Civil Service Commissioners' Recruitment Code.

The number of people employed (permanent and casual staff) at the Royal Mint as at 31 March 2008 was 765.

More about the British Royal Mint
According to the Royal Mint, "The latest presses can each strike more than 700 coins per minute, making it impossible for the human eye to separate the individual pieces as they pass through the press."

The standard of accuracy for striking coins in the UK is actually imposed by law. So, to ensure that the composition of the alloy is correct, samples of the molten metal are routinely checked by x-ray fluorescence spectrometry.

These days, of course, the Royal Mint has some of the most advanced coining machinery in the world. One of the most up-to-date foundries in the world is housed in the Melting, Rolling and Blanking Unit where strips of metal are drawn from large electric furnaces, reduced to the required thickness in a tandem rolling mill and transferred to large blanking presses where coin blanks can be punched out at the rate of 10,000 per minute. These blanks are then softened and cleaned in the Annealing and Pickling Plant before the final process in the Coining Press Room. Here blanks are fed into coining presses where the obverse and reverse designs, as well as the milling on the edge, are stamped onto the blank simultaneously.

British Royal Mint Products
Gold and silver coins were once traditionally 24 karat or pure 999.99 precious metal. Lately thought the trend seems to be moving more towards a lesser karat of precious metal as well as a mixture and 'coloreds' or coins with colored pictures on. Piedfords are also being promoted as being popular. These coins are thicker than the norm and of course contain more precious metal.
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British Royal Mint ordering and Payment Options
Placing orders and paying for items at the mint is not difficult. You simply opens an account, selects what you want to go into the shopping cart. When you have completed selecting all you want you go to checkout and fill out the requisite information, select the payment method, which is basically which credit card you are going to use and make a payment.

The Royal Mint provides assistance on site if anyone is having any difficulty and the site is relatively user friendly in this regard.

When your order has been confirmed you will be given an order reference number and you will be sent an order confirmation by email.

All prices can be displayed in pounds sterling, US Dollars and Canadian Dollars. The default, of course, is pounds sterling.

In the UK there is an added tax called VAT (Value Added Tax, similar to the Australian and Canadian GST). All sterling prices displayed on the website are inclusive of VAT, where applicable, at 17.5%.

The Royal Mint accept Visa, Master Card and Maestro as methods of payment on our website

The Royal Mint state also that if you are not completely happy with any of your purchases they will refund your money in full, provided are returned within 30 days of receipt by Special Delivery, complete and in mint condition.

British Royal Mint Shipping

Delivery Charges are dependent upon where the gold coins or other items are going to be delivered.

For orders from the website delivery to the EU and BFPO (British Forces Posted overseas) is free. Orders outside of the EU incur a delivery charge.

If you order by phone or post then all orders will incur a delivery charge.

All orders are expected to be delivered within 21 days. This is a lot longer than many gold coin dealers who usually deliver within a week. This applies to international orders also.

British Royal Mint Returns and Refunds
The Royal Mint state that, “If you have a problem with your product you can return it to us within 30 days and we will be happy to provide a replacement or refund.” The address for returns is:
The Royal Mint
Quality Department PCU
P.O. Box 500
Pontyclun
CF72 8WP
It is important to include all information including, your name, address and customer code along with a short description of the problem.

If you have placed an order and wish to cancel it, you can do so provided the order has not yet been dispatched from the Royal Mint. You should phone up or send an email first before canceling to ensure the product has not been dispatched from the Mint.

Then, when you know it has not yet been dispatched, you can send the Mint an e--mail using their inquiry form, stating your name, address, customer code the order was placed under (if known) and exactly what items you wish to cancel.

The Last Word on the British Royal Mint
Of course, such coins are really more suitable for collectors than for investment purposes. Investment in gold and silver is best done using gold or silver rounds and bullion bars. in addition one can invest in gold and silver by owning it and not having the hassle of storage and transport issues, by going to goldmoney.com and opening an account there.

If you have bought any gold coins, silver coins, gold bullion or silver bullion from the www.royalmint.com, please feel free to leave feedback on the quality of service and products you found, including any www.royalmint.com online complaints and special attention or service given by www.royalmint.com

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Royal Canadian Mint

This write up of the Canadian Mint explains exactly who the Canadian Mint really are and what they deal in. It is well worth reading about the Canadian Mint before you decide to buy any gold or silver coins from them.

As always, it is a wise and prudent move to do one’s own due diligence before buying gold from any gold dealer or mint.

Who are the Royal Canadian Mint
The British Royal Mint produced all the coins for Canada until 1908 when the Royal Canadian Mint was established. Then, on January 2, 1908 Governor General Earl Grey activated the press to strike a fifty-cent piece, the Dominion's first domestically produced coin. A few moments later, the Governor General’s wife, the Countess Grey, closed the ceremony by striking Canada's first bronze cent.

The Canadian Mint is a for profit corporation wholly owned directly or indirectly by government in lieu of the Crown. Their address is currently in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada with branches and shops in Canada as well.

Per Wikipedia, Ian E. Bennett was appointed President and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint on June 12, 2006. Mr. Bennett has also held several previous positions within the Department of Finance including Deputy Minister from November 2004 to June 2006 and previously, he served as Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund representing Canada, Ireland and the Caribbean countries from September 2001 to October 2004.

As President of the Royal Canadian Mint, Two of Mr. Bennett's two most notable accomplishments, since his appointment, have been the introduction of the new Mint Mark on all Canadian Circulation Coins and the partnership with the Vancouver Olympic Committee to produce coins for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games to be held in Vancouver.

More about the Royal Canadian Mint
The Canadian Mint Website, which has been online since May 2001, is in both English and French and uses almost exclusively adobe flash which makes it a tad slower to load up than other mint sites. Those people that do not have or cannot use Adobe Flash will not be able to view the site which is quite elegantly done.

With the creation of the Royal Mint it was soon realized that a Refinery was also needed, to perform the complex work of bringing rough gold up to coinage standards, so the Canadian Mints Refinery was built and completed in 1911. By the end of that year, it had processed 90,000 troy ounces of gold, enough to strike 256,000 gold sovereigns.

Throughout War II, the Refinery produced vast quantities of gold bars with which great Britain paid its debts to other countries.

A new Refinery facility was built in 1936, designed to meet all possible future demand for many years to come.

The Royal Canadian Mint continues to refine gold for mines and central banks throughout the world. Today it stands as one of the industry's largest refiners with a current production capacity of 4.2 million troy ounces per year,

Royal Canadian Mint Products
Canadian gold coins, such as the Maple, are among the most beautiful and popular worldwide. Each gold coin is produced

With the recent gold and silver coins however, Although they bear denominations or face values of $20, $50, $100 or $200, for example, these coins are not really meant for circulation and not really suitable for investment either. They are designed as collectors coins. The gold or silver component of the coins is far in excess of the face value, although tending to be less than 24 karat these days, and, with the high premium or mark up, the coins are more for a hobby collectors market than an investor or even serious numismatist.

Never the less the Royal Canadian Mint's collector gold coins produced, especially the proof issues, are fine and beautiful specimens of gold coins. Each is individually handled and a single coin may be struck up to three times to produce that crisp flawless impression that marks a quality gold coin.

In 1979, Gold Maple Leaf coins we first introduced and were the first ever crafted coins to attain the 9999 level of purity. This is noted in the hallmark the "9999" found on every one of these 24-karat gold coins.

The Silver Maple Leaf bullion coin, was first produced in 1988. And has been a popular with collectors ever since. The Platinum Maple Leaf, minted from 1988 to 1999, is no longer in production. So there is a limit4ed supply of these and they are much in demand on the open market also.

The Mint also refines and produces gold kilo bars, trade bars and one-, five- and ten-ounce gold wafers to the same quality standard. All are struck with their weight, gold purity level and the Royal Canadian Mint hallmark.

All of these plus many other products can be found on their website www.mint.ca.

Royal Canadian Mint Storage Services

The Royal Canadian Mint provides a storage services for Royal Canadian Mint branded precious metals in our vaults. This service is not offered directly to individuals, but through business to business accounts with the Royal Canadian Mint.

The Royal Canadian Mint is a Crown Corporation of the Government of Canada. They are ISO-9001:2000 certified, and are regularly audited to ensure the transparency of the mints business. The Canadian Mint vaults provide a secure facility to store precious metals and this service provided through their selected dealers.

However you cannot buy or sell precious metals directly with the Royal Canadian Mint. You have to go through a retailer or dealer. The Mint does not sell direct to the Public. The same applies to storage. You will have to go through a dealer in order to store metals with the Canadian Mint.

Also you are unable to view stored precious metals at the Canadian Mint’s storage facilities due to security reasons.

Royal Canadian Mint Payment Options
Coins can be bought online at the Canadian Mints website and for this standard credit cards may be used. At the Mint shops of course cash may be used. If you go through the dealers they may have their own payment options and you would have to consult with that dealer to find out what they are.

All prices are in Canadian dollars

The Royal Canadian Mint state that: "want to ensure that you always benefit from the most competitive exchange rates. That is why all items in our catalogues are listed in Canadian dollars only. If you are from the US and paying by credit card, your company will automatically convert the payment to US funds at the time of shipment."

Should you wish to pay by money order or certified check you will need to call the mint and organize payment arrangements.

The United States Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) requires that the U.S.-Based Ultimate Consignee or Foreign-Based Ultimate Consignee, or receiver of the goods, provides a U.S. Social Security Number (SSN) or Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employer identification number for any order equal to or exceeding $2,000 U.S.

In addition, in order to comply with the U.S.A. Customs regulations, the Royal Canadian Mint will now require your SSN or IRS number when you place an order that equals or exceeds $2,000 U.S. in value. This information will be recorded in the U.S.A. Customs Service computer system for customs purposes only.

Royal Canadian Mint Shipping Details
Shipping from the Canadian Mint is better than many other mints,. Whereas with the UK and US mints you will have to wait for weeks, the Canadian mint offers a 10 days from the time t your credit card transaction is approved. This is provided the item is in stock of course.

When it comes to silver products it might be wise to check with the mint first as there has been some short supply of silver with many mints recently.

With Canadian orders, once your order is processed and shipped, delivery usually takes around 1-2 business days if you choose Federal Express, or 3-7 business days if you choose Canada Post.

With US Orders, delivery is expected to take about 1-2 business days if you choose Federal Express, or 7-10 business days if you choose ground mail service.

Royal Canadian Mint Returns & Refunds
If you are not completely satisfied with your purchase, you can return it to the Canadian Mint provided it is in its original packaging and within 30 days and the mint will replace it. If the product is sold out, they will give you a full refund.

To return an item it is well to follow the following steps:
1. Ensure the product is in its original packaging (single coins and coin sets must be returned in their original display cases and outer protective boxes, along with their respective Certificates of Authenticity).
2. Include your packing slip or a short note indicating your name, customer number, complete mailing address and the order number.
3. Indicate if you would prefer a refund or an exchange.
4. Send back by regular mail to: Royal Canadian Mint, PO Box 457, Stn A, Ottawa, ON. K1N 8V5 Canada
Also if you are returning a defective product, you should include a copy of the postage receipt and they will then refund your return parcel post costs at the regular mail rate, up to a maximum of $12.99 CDN.

If you want to cancel your order you should call the mint as soon as possible. If you are quick enough it can be cancelled prior to leaving the warehouse. Once it has progressed past a certain point in the order/dispatch process it is not possible to cancel the order so one does need to be quick in this regard.

Last Word on the Royal Canadian Mint

Naturally such coins are more for collectors than for investment. Investment in gold and silver is best done using gold or silver rounds and bullion bars. in addition one can invest in gold and silver by owning it and not having the hassle of storage and transport issues, by going to goldmoney.com and opening an account there.

If you have bought any gold coins, silver coins, gold bullion or silver bullion from the www.mint.ca, please feel free to leave feedback on the quality of service and products you found, including any www.mint.ca online complaints and special attention or service given by www.mint.ca